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. 2017 Jan 6;18(1):2.
doi: 10.1186/s12865-016-0187-3.

Role of Intestinal Microbiota and Metabolites on Gut Homeostasis and Human Diseases

Free PMC article

Role of Intestinal Microbiota and Metabolites on Gut Homeostasis and Human Diseases

Lan Lin et al. BMC Immunol. .
Free PMC article


Background: A vast diversity of microbes colonizes in the human gastrointestinal tract, referred to intestinal microbiota. Microbiota and products thereof are indispensable for shaping the development and function of host innate immune system, thereby exerting multifaceted impacts in gut health.

Methods: This paper reviews the effects on immunity of gut microbe-derived nucleic acids, and gut microbial metabolites, as well as the involvement of commensals in the gut homeostasis. We focus on the recent findings with an intention to illuminate the mechanisms by which the microbiota and products thereof are interacting with host immunity, as well as to scrutinize imbalanced gut microbiota (dysbiosis) which lead to autoimmune disorders including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Type 1 diabetes (T1D) and systemic immune syndromes such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Results: In addition to their well-recognized benefits in the gut such as occupation of ecological niches and competition with pathogens, commensal bacteria have been shown to strengthen the gut barrier and to exert immunomodulatory actions within the gut and beyond. It has been realized that impaired intestinal microbiota not only contribute to gut diseases but also are inextricably linked to metabolic disorders and even brain dysfunction.

Conclusions: A better understanding of the mutual interactions of the microbiota and host immune system, would shed light on our endeavors of disease prevention and broaden the path to our discovery of immune intervention targets for disease treatment.

Keywords: Dendritic cells (DCs); Gut homeostasis; Immune responses; Intestinal microbiota; Metabolic disorder; Regulatory T cells (Tregs).


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Gut microbial metabolites and host immune responses. CSF: Competence and sporulation factor; IECs: Intestinal epithelial cells. G and G+ indicate gram-negative and -positive bacteria, respectively
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Commensals and gut homeostasis. *Segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) also possess immunostimulatory effects, including induction of SIgA response, post-natal maturation of gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), and stimulation of T cell compartment. IE: intestinal epithelium
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Effects of gut microbiota on the peripheral tissues beyond the gut. CNS: central nervous system

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